In the educational field, a large part of the measures that the countries of the region have adopted in the face of the COVID-19 crisis are related to the pause of face-to-face lessons at all levels, which has given rise to the usage of different formats and platforms (with or without the use of technology); support and mobilization of staff and educational communities, and care for the health and comprehensive well-being of students.
Peace of mind and a lot of organization at home; being different does not mean that it is worse, as there are countless beneficial activities for children. Combining confinement with teleworking and children's homework is not an easy task. During these days, social networks are invaded with messages from parents who share questions about their children's education and others who offer their experience to help others. Many families wonder, will this situation influence the education of my children? We must understand that we are in an exceptional situation and if we take advantage of it well we can come out stronger. We have time to do many things that we could not do before and we must take advantage of these opportunities for the education of our children.
It is being debated whether it is important for children to meet the same school hours at home so as not to lose the habit, but this is not realistic, since parents do not have time to supervise their children's homework because most of them are teleworking. For this reason, it is recommended that children dedicate 45 minutes or 1 hour in the morning and the same amount of time in the afternoon, to do their homework. The rest of the time we can make the children aware of their responsibilities and enjoy family time.
What kinds of activities can we do? How do we organize the different subjects? What should the centers do? These are some of the questions that parents have, and that teachers are trying to solve urgently. Here we offer you some recommendations for different ages.
Infant children (3 to 5 years old) should not have homework other than day-to-day education, such as: picking up their toys, helping to set the table, working on oral language, encouraging reading, strengthening fine and gross motor skills, helping to make a snack, etc.
Primary school children (6 to 11 years old) should dedicate time to their homework and carry out activities such as comics, English listening, calculation, etc. Teachers recommend that children make a homework sheet per day that collects one activity from each subject. The intention is not to overwhelm the children but to spend time reviewing content that they have worked on in class without the help of their parents. With regard to household chores, children should help to clean the house, do the washing up, help with food preparation, etc.
Children from 12 years old and over must be treated as adults. It is important to promote cultural habits such as reading, virtual visits to museums, etc. Even by having subjects with more content, they can dedicate more time to homework to also avoid the excessive use of technologies. Regarding household chores, it is important that they help with most of them, from doing their rooms, helping to cook, and in the case of having younger siblings helping them with their chores.
Faced with the health crisis and the closure of classrooms, the centers have been forced to teach online. These classes are productive, but for many it could be a problem. It is good that children are constantly learning, but it is not fair to impart new knowledge through the internet because there are many families who do not have access, so it is more equitable to review and influence what has been learned. To overcome this challenge, there are two things that can be done: first, send the families the tasks by ordinary mail weekly or, secondly, provide Internet access to these families so that the students can carry out the tasks such as the other students.
School life has disappeared overnight and we are not used to giving all the classes online. The administrations must understand that we are in an exceptional situation and we cannot ask families to adapt immediately to a new program because of their personal situation. This situation has led to teachers being overwhelmed by homework correction.